House won’t return next week
The House of Representatives will not go into session next Monday, as previously scheduled, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said today.
In a notice to members, Hoyer wrote, “Members are advised that due to ongoing bipartisan conversations surrounding additional CARES legislation and a rule change related to remote work, and in continued consultation with members and the House attending physician, the House is not expected to be in session the week of May 4, 2020.
“Members are further advised that they will be given sufficient notice of when they would need to return to Washington, D.C. Further information will be provided as soon as it becomes available.”
But Hoyer also held a telephone news conference in which he said that Democratic leaders made the decision after consulting with the House physician, which followed an outcry from some members who had safety concerns. Hoyer noted that the number of coronavirus cases in Washington is still rising, and he said the House will return once Congress and the Trump administration come closer to a deal on the next coronavirus relief package.
The Senate is still scheduled to return, and House Republicans are pushing for a return to the Hill, arguing that members of Congress are essential workers, Axios said.
Reacting to Hoyer’s announcement, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said, “The American people are looking to their leaders for steady guidance, yet Speaker Pelosi and her House majority would rather draft bills in secret than lead our country’s reopening by showing that we can safely get back to work in Congress. Just as we’re watching essential workers in so many segments of our economy perform their jobs every day, we need Congress to start working again on the growing list of areas that need our focus, like holding China accountable for their failures to disclose the truth about this virus, as well as the need to bring America’s supply chain back from China so we don’t rely on them for PPE and so many key ingredients for life-saving drugs.
“If President Trump and Senate Republicans can be in Washington working safely, there’s no reason for House Democrats to prevent us from doing the same.”
Politico’s Playbook today also discussed the many safety issues facing Congress, its staff and anyone who visits the Capitol complex.
Meanwhile, the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms extended the restricted access to the Capitol Complex through 8 a.m. Saturday, May 16.